Remember those fun times you had bowling when you were a kid? Guess what—it hasn't changed all that much, although it seems that there are fewer spots where you can bowl these days. Actually, it's even more fun for the little ones now with the advent of bumper bowling and ball ramps. Also, you have to love a sport where you can get an order of chili cheese fries while you're playing. It's a great active rainy day activity, too.
There are still a few fantastic family friendly bowling alleys in Marin and the Bay Area, so go rent some shoes, pick out your ball (that red one looks pretty cool!) and bowl a few games with the kiddos. Most of these bowling alleys also offer birthday parties for kids, as well. You remember how fun those were, right?
Located in San Rafael, Marin's only bowling alley offers 40 lanes, automatic scoring, and plenty of bumper lanes for the little ones. On-site food is provided by Villa York Pizza and Grill, and they even have 24 beers on tap. In case that's enough, they have pool tables and an arcade, too. Several different birthday party packages are available; call (415) 456-4661 to book your lanes. Check their website for hours and pricing.
Looking for fun indoor play spaces for the little ones? There are several places to take the kids to get them out of the house and burn off all that extra energy, especially on a cold or rainy day. Here are a few ideas for fun indoor drop-in activities in Marin County and beyond:
Habitot Children's Museum
2065 Kittredge Street, Berkeley
(510) 647-1111 Discovery Museum for young children, toddlers and infants. Fun activities, hands on exhibits, arts & crafts, fun classes, music and much more. Cost: $10.00 per child (free under 12 mo.) and $10.00 per adult For more info, visit their website.
Rain or Shine 1235 10th Street, Berkeley
The new Rain or Shine offers a wide variety of activities for ages 0–6 years. Drop in any time for open play! Come for story, music, or parachute programs. They offers a wide variety of activities for all day open play, all included with admission. Cost: before 2 pm, $16/first child; $8/sibling; $4/adult or after 2 pm $12/first child; $6/sibling; $2/adult. For more info, visit their website.
Sculpting with Play-Doh is always a favorite activity for kids, and it can be even more fun to make your own quick and easy Play-Doh style modeling clay (AKA "playdough"), especially on a rainy day. You probably have all of the ingredients sitting in your pantry right now!
We colored our latest batch pink and red for Valentine's Day projects. You can, of course, use any color you like. If you want multiple colors, it's best to make more than one batch, as you add the food coloring during the mixing stage to make sure the color is distributed evenly.
Pull out your Valentine's Day cookie cutters to make heart-shaped cutouts. Just roll out the dough and let the kids go to town with cookies cutters or by hand.
To make your own dough, get the following ingredients together:
It's almost as fun for kids to make their own snacks as it is for them to eat them! This pretzel recipe is easy, fast, and perfect for children to help with, and the results are delicious, too. My kids love to make these tasty pretzels when friends come over. It's a great activity for rainy days and playgroups, too. Why not bake up a batch this weekend?
The only part of this recipe that's not kid-friendly is boiling the pretzels briefly in a baking soda and water solution—have a grown-up handle this part. This step gives the pretzels their characteristic crunch, brown color, and flavor. You can omit it if you like; the pretzels will still be good, but won't be quite the same.
Museum visitors are often told not to touch anything, but not at the museums listed here! These seven local Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area museums offer lots of fun hands-on activities for kids and families. They're perfect for rainy-day outings or any time, really.
Bay Area Discovery Museum
Families with kids up to age 8 love Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum for its combination of hands-on fun, exciting programs and performances, rotating special exhibitions (currently it's Curious George: Let's Get Curious), and a great play area overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. It's a fantastic place to play away the day and take in the amazing views. Location: Fort Baker, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, 94965. Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 9 am–5 pm. More info: www.baykidsmuseum.org or (415) 339-3900.
It's always fun to get hands-on with a cool new creative project. We had a chance to check out the new I Made It! Glass Creations studio in San Rafael, where we made some really cool and unique crafts from fused glass. It's the first place of its kind in the country, and it's a fun activity for all ages.
I Made It! offers countless different projects ideas that you make from colored glass. Come on in (no appointment or reservation is necessary) and choose a project—including jewelry, decorative items, housewares like coasters and bottle openers, photo frames, key chains, and more.
Families looking for active indoor fun should head up north to Rohnert Park and check out the new Rebounderz Indoor Trampoline Arena. We paid a visit last week to give it a try and everyone had a fantastic time! Rebounderz features a truly massive trampoline area, foam pits, a giant climbing structure, a dedicated toddler park, and more! There’s also an arcade, a café, and a parents’ lounge with wifi and big-screen TVs where you can watch your kids as they play.
When we first entered Rebounderz, we were astounded at the sheer size of the place. The main jump area has 74 eight-foot trampolines, separated by nets that allow multiple activities to take place at once, including open jump, dodgeball, and tot jumping for kids 5 and under. The indoor playground in the back room is also enormous, and it’s a lot of fun, too. It’s for kids ages 2 to 12, with a separate tot area for ages 0 to 4.
Kids love sculpting with Play-Doh, and it's easy to make at home for a fun rainy day activity. You probably have all of the ingredients sitting in your pantry right now!
We whipped up a batch of white "snow-dough" to make some cute holiday snowman decorations. It was an easy and fun craft for the kids to make. This recipe makes quite a bit of dough—equivalent to two large cans of Play-Doh. If you don't need that much, feel free to cut recipe in half.
Pink is not only my daughter's favorite color, but also the subject of her favorite book, Pinkalicious, the children's best-seller by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann. You and your children can see the story retold on stage in Pinkalicious: The Musical beginning this Saturday when the Bay Area Children's Theatre opens its Broadway-style production at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage.
For Pinkalicious Pinkerton there is “one color like no other”—pink! But when she eats too many pink cupcakes, she develops a rare condition that turns her that color. There’s only one known cure: a steady dose of foods that are green. Will Pinkalicious eat her broccoli popsicles and return to normal?
Pinkalicious: The Musical, with music by John Gregor and lyrics by Gregor and the Kanns, has all the ingredients for a wonderful family treat. This glittering stage adaptation bounces from one upbeat Broadway-style number to the next, with tap dancing galore, as the peripatetic Pinkertons pilot precariously through their peculiar predicament.